Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2015, China

The 8th edition of Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, last from November 5-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Over 1,000 exhibitors was to join the fair this year. It serves as an effective platform for exhibitors to promote their products to quality buyers in the region. The blend of trade and public participants at the fair created a vibrant platform for doing business.

Fuelled by booming market demand and an established reputation for excellence, the fair in 2015 attracted over 1,060 exhibitors from 31 countries and regions to showcase distinctive wines and spirits all over the world.

The fair deliver an incomparable platform of top-tier wine and spirits from across the globe and remains the perfect stage for sourcing extraordinary vintages, catering to global buyers on the search for greatness from production to sales. The three days of intense trading among global business interests and building of interpersonal relationship, information-gathering and the furtherance of international wine culture.

As Asian consumers are becoming more wine literate, the global wine industry is shifting its attention to Asia. The optimistic business outlook will continue to encourage wine trade across the Pacific Ocean and fuel the vibrant wine market.

Since the Hong Kong government eliminated wine duties in 2008, Hong Kong’s wine sector has taken off. Hong Kong is turning into a regional wine-trading hub and becoming a wine gateway to the Chinese mainland.

As a duty-free port with good air connectivity and excellent storage facilities, Hong Kong is globally recognised as the most cost-effective wine distribution hub. Wine merchants worldwide favour Hong Kong as a launch pad to expand their business into Asia and the mainland.

In particular, Hong Kong has become a platform for trading wine with the mainland, which has long been the largest market for wines re-exported from the city. As the facilitation measures have now been extended to all customs districts, wine traders enjoy faster customs clearance and greater certainty when re-exporting wines through Hong Kong.

Adding to Hong Kong’s advantages such as advanced infrastructure, transportation networks and experienced industry professionals, the new measures further bolster Hong Kong’s standing as a wine trading hub by attracting more global wine traders to access the mainland market through the city.

Hong Kong Wine Fair 2015
The 8th of Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair showcase fine wine and spirits from more than 1,000 exhibitors from 31 countries and regions, the event once again showcase a variety of wine, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages.

The Wine & Spirits Fair is more than just an elite trading platform for wine; the event is also a showcase of market expertise that attract buyers, producers, sommeliers, hoteliers, restauranteurs, importers and distributors. There is also far more to experience than just wine as the Fair also features spirits, craft beers, cocktails and other beverages that reflect world culture.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has invited Portugal to be the Partner Country for the 2015 Wine & Spirits Fair. There was a Portuguese national pavilion at the fair and a line-up of Portugal-themed wine events and activities. Through the inaugural partnership with the Wines of Portugal, bonds between Asian markets and Portugal certainly be enhanced.

Organisations from a number of traditional and emerging wine-producing countries have pavilions at the approaching fair to showcase their featured wines. They include Consulate General of the Argentine Republic, Wine Australia, Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Sopexa, Wines of Germany, Wines of South Africa, Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, ProMexico and etc.

France and Italy have a strong presence in the fair with over 300 exhibitors, with other group pavilions coming from regions as diverse as Australia, Mexico, South Africa and Spain. First time pavilions was hosted by Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Japan’s Hokkaido Sake Council, ProMexico and Southern Italy Pavilion. The presence of new exhibitors from Ireland and Kazakhstan likewise bring new tastes and business opportunities for visitors to sample.

Following its successful debut last year, the Whisky and Spirits Zone return to the fair with a wide variety of beverages from different parts of the world. Scotland was well represented with a number of unique whisky brands on show including the triple distilled Auchentoshan. There was also sake from Japan, tequila from Mexico and a maple syrup-infused brandy from Canada. The Whisky and Brandy Bar in the zone was a place for tastings while cocktail demonstrations was a highlight of the Ice Bar area.

As handmade Beer gains sequential acceptance from market nowadays, a dedicated Beer Zone is making its debut at the Wine and Spirits Fair this year, showcasing unique craft beer from France, Lithuania and other countries, provides more choices of selection to buyers.

For the first time, HKTDC has the privilege to invite Portugal as this year’s partner country. More than 500 types of Portuguese wines was featured by over 40 Portuguese exhibitors. Sogrape is the famous one in the local wine industry. It wears the title of “2015 Best Wine Producer Worldwide” as well as receiving a total of 131 awards last year. Its prestigious Quinta Da Leda 2012 has won a gold medal in Wines of Portugal Challenge.

Established in 1850s, Henriques & Henriques has now been recognized as the icon of Madeira wines. Its 15-year-old Madeira wine is a constant winner at international wine competitions. The medium dry amber-colour gem holds some acidity. The aroma of dried fruits, raisins, honey, walnuts and old wood is alluring and offers a refreshing touch.

Arba Wine in Kazakhstan has drummed up attention for the country’s wines as its Pinot Noir 2013 snatched the golden medal at China Wine & Spirits Awards 2015. It has also been commended by Decanter World Awards 2015 which indicates its promising potential. This Pinot Noir was exhibited in Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair for the first time, its full bodied flavour and deep tones surely stimulate sensation.

Croatia has been producing wines for 3,000 years but it is only discovered by wine lovers until recently. Plavac Mali, genetically identical to Zinfandel, is the most sought after red wine grape in Croatia and widely regarded as the best type of red wine within the region. Zlatan Plavac Barrique 2010 is the best example of excellence bestowed by Decanter World Wine Awards 2013.

With almost 125 years of history, Franco Españolas remains a legend representing Rioja wines. Its wine is so good that Hemingway included the bodegas’ white wine in his book, A Moveable Feast. Its product of Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva, is also beloved by wine critics and achieved 96 high scores on Wine Spectator.

The Master Brewer at Sawahime Brewery, Hiroshi Inoue’s outstanding sake-making talent was recognized as early as at 27 years old, when he received a gold award in the national sake contest. He had further advanced his reputation with his sake voted as the best Daiginjo in the world at the International Wine Challenge.

SunTerra Style Merlot 2011 surprises consumers when it, as the only US producer, grasped the China Wine and Spirits Award 2015 Best Value Double Gold award and each bottle only costs US$20/RMB$130. The Merlot has firm yet supple tannins. Cranberry and blueberry followed with a long finish replete with black cherry and mocha.

Mars Maltage Cosmo is winning the heart of young whiskey lovers as Japanese whiskey is gaining popularity. Mars Distillery is the highest distillery in Japan, the producer uses water that has passed through granite rock which gives the whisky a full and balanced flavor.

The Scottish Glenbrynth series is created by one of the world’s leading Master Blenders – whom was crowned as Distiller of the Year five times by the International Spirits Challenge and four times by the International Wine & Spirits Competition. Its 12 year old scored 87 points from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015.

Hepburn’s Choice has been an Independent Bottler who specializes in championing the lesser known distilleries of Scotland. The Caol lla 2008 5 Years Old has only a limited production of 381 bottles.

French brewery Les Brasseurs de Gayant is the second largest independent brewery in France. Based on an original medieval recipe using special French malts and Flanders hop, the brewery has always been the proud icon of “Biere de Garde” which is produced in winter and consumed in summer. Its La Goudale was awarded the winner of the “World’s Best Biere de Garde” at the 2008 World Beer Awards.

The distillery that makes the world class beer, Švyturys Ekstra is the oldest beer distillery in Lithuania with more than 230 years of history and the first Lithuanian beer to earn international recognition and be awarded gold at the World Beer Cup and the Stockholm Beer Festival with a slight bitterness of hops.

Viniq is America’s first shimmery liqueur made of cake frosting and rock candy. Just shake before pouring and the galaxy-like mesmerizing purple spirit is purely enticing. Viniq uses Premium vodka, Moscato and natural fruit flavors for the liqueur.

The royal family of Liechtenstein is well-known for its history in banking as well as winemaking. The sparkling Liesecco Frizzante was produced in the vineyards run by the Princess of Liechtenstein, remarking its genuineness.

Industry interactions
A panoply of events take place during the three-day fair, including grand tastings, master classes, wine tastings, cocktail demonstration and seminars. It was an excellent opportunity for buyers to soak up the latest market intelligence and product and marketing developments in the wine industry.

The Wine Industry Conference on the opening day of the fair feature five international experts analysing the latest trends in the business. A seminar on Chinese wine market trends meanwhile examine this rapidly growing wine market. Master classes and guided tours by leading wine educators give deeper insights into the products on hand.

Events throughout the fair give attendees the chance to get acquainted with Portuguese wine. These include the Portuguese Winemakers Talks and a talk and autograph session by leading Portuguese wine critic and journalist João Paulo Martins, who present his new book “The Pleasure of Port – The Inside Story of a Unique Fortified Wine.”

A Gala Wine Dinner on the fair’s opening night was themed “Fado Wine Night” and feature a meal prepared by Portuguese Chef Martinho Moniz, paired with a selection of fine Portuguese wines.

Every year, the Wine Industry Conference attracts hundreds of wine professionals. This year, Asia’s first Master of Wine, Debra Meiburg MW, again serve as the Conference’s advisor and moderator and share the latest industry updates with the audience.

Awards and competitions add to the excitement of the fair. The 7th Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition Award Presentation Ceremony (5 Nov) recognise the best in the business. Meanwhile, the “Wine.Luxe” x “Hong Kong Wine Journey” Top 10 Food & Wine Pairing Restaurant Award 2015 and the 3rd A.S.I. Contest of The Best Sommelier of Asia-Oceania Hong Kong-China 2015 take place on the first and second day of the fair respectively.

Public Day
Last day of the fair is open to public, wine lovers with valid tickets are welcome to visit the fair and join wine tasting, cocktail demonstration and fine wine tasting sessions to enrich personal experience in wine appreciation.

Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room.